tv The Reid Report MSNBC June 19, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
an armed force on what have of the shia, and if it is framed i% that fashion, then that probably worsens the situation and the prospect for government formation that would be constructed over the long-term. you know, i think just as iraq's leaders have to make decisions, i think iran has heard from us. we've indicated to them that it is important for them to avoid steps that might encourage the kind of sectarian splits that might lead to civil war. and the one thing that i think is -- you know, has to be emphasized, we have deep differences with iran across the board on a whole host of issues.
obviously, what's happened in part is the result of iran coming in hot and heavy on one side. a and, you know, iran should consider the fact that if it is -- if it's view of the region is solely through sectarian frames, they could find themselves fighting in a whole lot of places. that's probably not good for the iranian economy or the iranian people over the long-term, either. i expect there are folks in iran who recognize that. a iraq and chaos on their borders is probably not in their interests. but old habits die hard. and, you know, we'll have to see whether they can take what i think would be a more promising path over the next several days. all right? thank you very much, everybody.
>> good afternoon, reiders. this is the reid report. moments ago, president obama spoke at great length about his response to the continuing sectarian violence in iraq. he reiterated that american combat troops will not be sent. the white house says about 300 advisers will. he added the future of iraq is up to its1 >> the united states will not pursue military options that support one sect inside of iraq at the expense of another. there's no military solution inside of iraq, certainly not one that is led by the united states. >> peter add lexander is at the white house. we have the medal ceremony scheduled to take place in this hour. what was behind in your reporting the timing of this particular announcement on iraq. >> well, let's give you a sense of what's happened in the course of the last 24 hours. we know vice president joe biden has been the conduit to the
iraqi leadership spoke yesterday with nuri al maliki. he spokes%;jñ to the sunni lead and to the president of the self-governed kurds in iraq. about an hour or so ago, president obama was meeting with his own national security team. in there among those was the secretary of defense chuck hagel, also the joint chief chairyqw? martin dempsey right . but being clear, one, the announcement of 300 troops as military special advisers being sent there. that number is roughly three times the number we have been hearing from administration officials within the'aipz cours the last couple of hours. and what is significant aboutg) that is that ultimately what happened in the course of what we heard from the president is he is now edging back into a military conflict that this president and frankly a lot of americans thought they had left behind. more specifically, about prime minister maliki today while the president didn't indicate that he must go, he made it clear that that sort of still exists
and very much maliki's own future is hanging in the déóvba. the president said iraq's future hangs in the balance. but he also said that president, that prime minister, excuse me, faces a real test right now. so two significant pieces of news we heard from the president just moments ago. >> peter, real quick, this trip that john kerry had to talk to allies, we have a sense of where he will be going and what the order of operations is for that trip. >> it's a good question. we're going to try to get more specificity about that right now. for security reasons, i think they're going to be reluctant to tell us the specifics about where and when he will be going. we know he's going to be heading to europe and to the middle east. the focus of those conversations will be on iraq. but i think what this did in many ways is indicate they're going to continue to put more pressure. they recognize this companñpañ solved militarily. it needs ultimately to be solved diplomatically. that's why the president is buying himself more time by
sending secretary of state john kerry there to have those face-to-face conversations that the administration members have been having long distance for many days now. >> peter alexander at the white house, thank you very much. appreciate it. kelly o'donnell is on capitol hill with reaction from congressional leaders. what are you hearing, kelly? >> no specific reaction since the president just wrapped up a moment ago. but i can tell you that republicans have sort of cleared their own battlefield earlier today, having a series of senate republicans on the floor making very sharp comments about the preside preside president's foreign policy broadly and trying to put pressure on the president to take action. we'll have to watch what we hear from congressional leaders when they get a chance to absorb these specifics. some of them may have been right in on. >> of this, as well, as part of the consultation. we know the president met with the top leadership from both parties in both houses late yet yesterday to discuss iraq. and what you really have here is a sense of republicans who are
concerned about trying to get some stability back in the region. a lot of political talk taking shots at the president over his posture in the middle east and how he has handled it. certainly democrats have been pointing out that the american people don't want to see the u.s. engaged again in iraq in a way that goes beyond this sort of help that the president is outli outlining. so it will be interesting to watch if democrats believe the dimensions that the president has discussed with these 300 military advisers, if that falls within that safe zone that the democrats are more comfortable with. the issue of air strikes has brought out a lot of concern and confusion and worry on the part of many democrats concerned that might lead to something else. you heard the president ask about mission creep. the idea that once you begin something, it seems to morph into something else. he seemed very aware of that concern and try to sort of say that the u.s. is now learning some lessons over time by trying to ask harder questions before going into these countries and
having even the sort of supportive military help. so this has been an issue that republicans have been grabbing on to. they believe there are serious questions here. democrats have concerns. and while the politics of it is always in the air, we'll have to see how people respond to this. democrats have been cautious and concerned about too much involvement trying to deal with the issue of iraq and syria. >> all right. kelly o'donnell, thank you very much. appreciate it. richard engle is live in tm] baghdad. richard, you hear the same tension before the speech as after, republicans saying the president should take action, not being specific on what action that is. democrats concerned too much action will be taken. where you are reporting, there in baghdad, what is it that the iraqis want the united states to do and how prepared are the u.s. people that you're speaking with there, how prepared are they to do it?6áñn >> well, here in baghdad, this
is a city where prices have been going up because of the dengz. there is a curfew in place at night. there are check points all over the city. the city is -- has been ringing by security forces because people here are afraid that militants from isis, this al qaeda offshoot which the president was also calling isil, same group, there are concerns that militant organization could raid the city and bring the war here to the capital. so people in baghdad are going to be extremely relieved. they want the u.s. bombing this group now and not tomorrow. let's be clear about what the president just said. 300 military advisers to help advise the iraqi army. these are special forces. these are people who will be on the ground, on the radios, at the joy sticks, gathering intelligence, producing intelligent packets to give to the iraqi troops. so you have the americans here effectively teaching the iraqis how to use the equipment that the americans left behind. how to carry out air strikes,
how to move their tanks, how to take back cities. this is military involvement, but by remote control. and iraqis, they are -- they'll be very happy to see this. one, you don't see american troops on the ground, which is embarrassing. it hurts their national pride and could bring up old memories of the war. but this group, isis, has been advancing. it has been territory. it holds a half dozen cities. it has closed the biggest oil refinery in this whole country. so if this continues, the country breaks apart, baghdad is in a siege mentality. so yeah, they will be very pleased for this. the question is -- and there are several strange things, this is about to be a very strange policy. the u.s. sends in these 300 advisers, in addition to some advisers who are already here. they'll be working with the iraqis on how to launch this counteroffensive which hasn't been very effective so far. when you have divisions, entire
divisions of the iraqi army melting away and defecting, obviously, the iraqi army doesn't work properly so it needs help. but the u.s. isn't the only person doing this, isn't the only one doing this right now. iran is already here doing the exact same thing. and the head all day is one of$ox thosed driver's ed cars where you have two steering wheels. the u.s. is going to have 300 of hands on the st wheel and iran has its own hands on the steering wheel. right now, our interests align. both the united states and iran want to get rid of this very nasty militant group. but long-term, and i think you heard the president talking [á country's longer term objectives? the u.s. doesn't have the samer; sort of vision that iran appears to have for this country. iran, for a long time, has supported a shiite state, a morale lied shiite partner through which it can dominate
the persian gulf. that's why kerry will be going around the region and explaining this to our partners, perhaps our israeli partners, why he is propping up a shiite government that until now has been read by nuri al maliki. >> and you just got to the point, the president saying we are not going to do air strikes that] another,e sect oru and yes we're going to go in and train the iraqi military. but who is the iraqi military? as you aptly pointed out, if ranl is in there, they're there to help the shia. the government of iraq is governing in sectarian fashion. helping the shia, you've got this sunni group and here is another wrengel to
it all. we'll be backing a military that, until now, has been quite sectarian. but there are elements quite frapg lit in the military that don't want it to be sectarian. so we could see changes coming up for the sectarian structure. i have a feeling we're going to see major changes coming up to the sectarian government, as well. with these 300 advisers coming lead ago military charge that until now has been not effective, perhaps it could lead to some officers emerging,'n3r partnering with their old american friends and changing the sectarian nature. that would be an ideal situation, i think, from the u.s. perspective. i don't know how real that is. i think a lot has changed in the 2 1/2 years since the u.s. troops left. you can guarantee some of these special operation forces who are coming back now spent a lot of time here. and they might find the country they're coming back to now quite different than the one they left in 2011. but here is another thing to
think about. the u.s., now partnering with the iraqi government and partner with are iran because iran is partnered by the u.s. government is now going to lead this troops through isis. they'll be thoughting iraq, fine. what happens when you cross back into syria? does the u.s. -- well, let's just say does the iraqi government with u.s. oversight bomb them in iraq and let them cross over the border and bashar al assad is supposed to take them off? >> so we will be bombing is mill at that point necessary iraq, they run back over the border in syria and then they get bombed by bashar al assad.
then which, between the government of bashar al assad, which the u.s. wants to topple and the u.s. partner in iraq. >> it is, in two words, a mess. and that is why i think the president is saying were not of combat troops in there. thank you so much for your insight. appreciate it. nbc news political director and host of msnbc's the daily rundown chuck todd joins me now. it is convoluted to say the least. one thing that seems clear is that nobody has any confidence in the current government of iraq. what is the white house saying now about maliki, about the prime minister of iraq? the president is saying very clearly it's not our job to choose their leaders, but goodness, what a leader. >> and i think that's the real news of this press conference. it's not the decision to send
300 advisers. the news is about maliki, the test is before him. the president had plenty of chances to stand behind maliki and he had plenty of chances to say he's got to go. he didn't say either. but he left the impression that he has a lot of doubt about maliki's ability to be the guy to form the new government to build the trust necessary that would work in a long-term we're going to do what we can and we need a better understanding of this group,
there will be some republicans who have been pretty critical of him that will still criticize, " w1%uju)qq't obama has support from david petraeus and the plan that the president outlined is basically the plan that david pe did you hear one? >> a little bit, there's no doubt. and i think that -- you know, i'll tell you, though, he used another word that i found interesting andp i think that really does sort of tug at the president here is his adviser s
but colonel jack, unpack a little bit of what you heard from the president today. you still did get questions from the gallery about whether or not we are creeping and whether there could be missions people, military missions. but what i thought i heard was absolutely we are not doing a combat mission. what did you hear? >> there are going to be combat missions, but they're not going to be done by combat forces. when people think about boots on the ground, they're thinking about the first armor division, the 82nd airborne division, large formations of troops. we are having troops on the ground. as a matter of fact, the president said we're going to send another 300. you can expect there will be more than 300 additional, but these will be special forces to do training, special operations forces. troops to help the iraqis plan to conduct counterterrorism, to train, to take back those areas that are currently under isis
control. there's a lot of information in what he said when he said he's going to send another 300 people. in addition to that, you can look at the extrapolation of what the president said into other areas, and he is not going to shirk from sending more special forces and special operations forces to other areas in the region. both north africa and east and west africa and also in the middle east. in areas where the governments are threatened, where there are offshoots of al qaeda, and where the governments need training, coordination for air strikes and learning how to do counterterrorism. one of the other things we have to keep in mind is the following. we currently have the capability to conduct air strikes inside iraq now. but part of those people we're sending there is to coordinate the activities of those air strikes. we're not going to leave that to the iraqis to conduct. we've got to control them on the ground. >> so that could explain why you would need to also send john
kerry, right? he has to go to the region because we're trying to make sure we get permissions in place, we need to know wrals in addition to iraq we could see troops, trainers, special forces, is that what you're saying? >> yeah. special forces, that is trainers, to train indigenous people, rangers, s.e.a.l.s and so on to conduct operations and snatch missions to get enemy troops to kill on or capture bad guys. i think kerry is going to around to talk about, among other things, the possibility of doing those things in other parts of region. >> we can certainly train the iraqi military to figure out how to do counterinsurgency. we are give them the logistics that we're going to use. and how to target and help us to target. we can't train the iraqi military to want to fight for iraqi. >> george bush said at the beginning of the war, everybody loves democracy and it's true, everybody loves democracy, but you have to be willing to fight
for it. currently, the iraqi army is not. one of the reasons they're not is because they're totally and completely disaffected from their government in baghdad, al maliki. that's got to change and that's why there's talk about somebody other than al maliki. but we're not going to select him. somebody has to pop up among the political apparatus in iraq. otherwise, you're not going to get the army to fight for baghdad if they don't believe in whoever is running baghdad. >> yeah. and goldy, i think that's what gets to the frustration. we spent $20 billion training the iraqi army. we spent nearly 4,500 american lives, countless iraqi lives, not to mention something like 30,000 americans who were injured fighting in iraq. after all of that, what we got is a country essentially whose army won't fied fight for it, that has elements of saddam's old party mixed into the militants. the frustration that members of the united states military must
feel watching this all go on has to be intense. >> i think the american public really does not have a stomach for new military action in iraq. but i think colon powekocollin famously said if you break it, you own it. we have a moral responsibility for these people. i think al maliki does have a responsibility to his own people. if he can't lead effectively, his job is to get out of the way and led the way for someone else. violence has been going on in this country for literally centuries. we can't choose a new leader. we must put in the kind of support so they can move on to self-government. no one has an interest in a chaotic iraq, not us, not its neighbors. inside of a chaotic iraq, you've
got a country that is a place where terrorists can fester and grow and be nurtured. inside a chaotic iraq, you have others in the region who feed off of that instability. so you've got to be very, very careful about how you support and be more thoughtful about it. >> we have a response, too, with what the president had to say today from congressman ed royce, the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. this is a statement he issued. he said the plan the president announced today in response to the rapid terrorist response in iraq underestimates the seriousness of steps needed, but fall short of what is required to stop this al qaeda offshoot from gaining more power which must include drone strikes. goldy, i guess it would have been too much to expect that we could get any unanymorety of action. also someone who is recommending specific military action.
do you think that's helpful? >> if there's a political lick to get in, certainly you can count on republicans to pass it. at the end of the day, we have to make a more thoughtful approach this time going on in. if that includes military strikes, drone strikes, air strikes, if it includes that, then the president must indeed come back and make that case. they're fighting in our name and on our behalf. we don't frankly have the intelligence today. we cannot rely on iraqi intelligence to guide our air strikes, to guide whether or not we may use drone forces. we simply don't have it. we have to get in and get it for ourselves and make a reasonable discernment as to whether or not that is what's necessary to quell the violence, that's what's necessary to protect our interests .make certain that we have a more stabilized iraq coming on the outside. >> yeah. and i'll take what goldy said one step further. you can bet the president has asked his intelligence chiefs,
asked general dempsey to develop a target list. for that, you need intelligence both on the ground and in the air. but also, he's asked for a guarantee. he's asked for a target list inside and around baghdad in the event everything goes down the drain and we need to evacuate americans and people in line with american interests. the green zone is not all that far from the airport, but it's a ways out of the city and we're going to have to be able to secure that area. that may have been to be done by air strikes, either manned or by drones. i bet you the president has asked for a target list in places other than baghdad, including that around the refineries, places like tikrit and mosul and so on. >> and quickly, congressman royce says the iraq has been
requesting drone strikes for more than a year. this is a government that is partly responsible if not largely or mostly or all responsible for what's going on in his country. would we simply take the list that mr. maliki has given us and said we would like some drone strikes here, here and here, please? >> no. but that's why what goldy says is absolutely correct. thank you very much for the information, but we have to verify everything. and i think that's this effort has been going on for about the past week or two, maybe even longer, and now that the press of time is such, as we see it's very, very strong that i think that there's a great deal of movement to get an actual verified target list that we can use on which the president can make a decision to strike if he wants to. >> i think we're going to listen to a little bit of president obama's statement in case you're just joining us, president obama did make some comments about what he plans to do whab our new plan is in iraq. 300 advisers going to iraq and he commented on both the political situation in iraq
which he said the government of nuri al maliki needs to get together now that they've had parliamentary elections, form a new government, but also said what the u.s. won't and will do in iraq. let's listen to a little bit of the president. >> rather than try to make whack-a-mole wherever these terrorist organizations may pop up, what we have to do is to by able to build effective partnerships, make sure that they have capacity. >> so goldy, the idea, i moon, for the united states public now, we're back in iraq in a very small way. there are some people who feel it's too small. what is your read? >> i think this president is going to get the information he needs so that it is not neither too small or too large but right size. we have to be much more thoughtful about the kind of footprint we have in the middle east and making sure that we secure or interests, both mere and abroad. but we have to make sure that we don't shirk middle easterners of
their agency and their ability to self-govern. >> goldy taylor, hang around for us a little bit. were now going to the ceremony honoring medal of honor recipient kyle carpenter who in the year 2010 shielded a fellow soldier from a grenade attack, earning the highest honor we give to the members of the united states military who do what most of us do not, which is to put into practice. the ceremony is beginning right now. let's take a listen. >> if you would, please pray with me. o mighty god, we pause at the beginning of this historic event to ask for your presence in this place. allow your spirit to move among all of us gathered here, that as we give honor to one who demonstrated the virtues on which this flagz was founded, we would be reminded again of your grace that has allowed this country its freedoms that so
many like corporal kyle carpenter have sacrificed to defend. gods, we would ask that you hear our gratitude for molding corporal chapten ter's character and the love of his support and the support of countless friends and mentors. know of our deep appreciation for this marine's faithfulness, that when faced that day with the crucible of self-preservation or self-sacrifice, he responded with valor to safeguard the life of his friend nick uphresio. now for the nation's highest award for selflessness and courage is draped around corporal carpenter's neck, encircle him with the depth of your steadfast love. sanity phi his inner most and unspoken thoughts so that as he carries the unfathomable weight of this honor, he will be enabled and emboldened to speak on what have of and encourage
those whose untold sacrifices and humble service need him firm and compassionate voice. we lift up in prayer all those who remain in arm's way throughout the globe and pray your abiding grace on the family and friends of the marines, sailors, soldiers, air men and coast guards men who have given their lives and service to this country. bestow your wisdom on those who lead this nation and shape its endeavors. may all of us, as americans, yield ourselves to your devine guidance and follow the example of these, our heroes, who love country more than self and mercy more than life. god bless america. amen. >> amen. >> thank you, everybody. please be seated. on behalf of michelle and myself, welcome to the white house.
the man you see before you today, corporal william kyle carpenter, should not be alive today. hand grenades are one of the most awful weapons of war. they only weigh about a pound, but they're packed with tnt. if one lands nearby, you have mere seconds to seek cover. when it detonates, its fragments shoot out in every direction and even at a distance the spray of shrapnel can inflict devastating injuries on the human body. up close, it's almost certain death. so we are here because this man, this united states marine, faced down that terrible explosive power, that unforgiving force
with his own body. willingly and deliberately. to protect a fellow marine. when that grenade exploded, kyle carpenter's body took the brunt of the blast. his injuries were called catastrophic. it seemed as if he was going to die. while being treated, he went into cardiac arrest and three times he flat lined. three times doctors brought him back. along with his parents, would call kyle's survival our miracle, we thank god they did. because with that singular act of courage, kyle, you not only saved your brother in arms, you displayed a heroism in the blink of an eye that will inspire for generations.
valor worthy of our nation's highest military decoration, the medal of honor. now kyle and i have actually met before during his long recovery at walter reed. he and some of our other wounded warriors came to the white house to celebrate the world series champion st. louis carpalskarnl. some of you may be aware, i am a white sox fan. kyle likes the braves. so it was a tough day for both of us. but after the ceremony, michelle and i had the chance to meet kyle. and at the time, he was still undergoing surgeries. but he was up and he was walking and he was working his way towards being independent again, towards the man you see here today. and kyle, the main message we want to send is welcome back. we are so proud to have you here. we just spent some time not only
with kyle, but also with his wonderful family and anybody who has had a chance to get to know this young man knows you're not going to get a better example of what you want in an american or a marine. despite all the attention, he's still the same humble guy from gilbert, south carolina, population of about 600. i guess today it's only population 590 something. these days, he's also at the university of south carolina, just a normal college student, he says, cheering for the gamecocks. you notice ta kyle doesn't hide his scars. he's proud of them and the service that they represent. and now he tells me this and, you know, so i'm just quoting him. he says the girls, they really
like them. so he's kind of -- he's working an angle on this thing. i wasn't sure what i was supposed to say that in front of mom, but there's a quote there. in addition to our many distinguished guests, i want to welcome those who made this man the marine that he is. kyle's father, jim, kyle's lovely mom, robin, and his brothers, price and peyton, one of whom is going to be joining kyle at south carolina, another gamecock and we have one that is going to be at the citadel. we have kyle's marine brothers who served with him in afghanistan and through his recovery and i also want to welcome the members of the medal of honor society whose ranks kyle joins today. kyle and his fellow marines served during the surge of forces that i ordered to
afghanistan early in my presidency. their mission was to drive the taliban out of their strong holds, protect the afghan people and give them a chance to reclaim their communities. kyle and his platoon were in hu helmund province bearing their heavy packs even as it could heat up to 115 degrees. in one small village, they turned a dusty impound into their base. the insurgents nearby gave their answer with sniper fire and automatic weapons fire and rocket propelled grenades. that morning, kyle said an alarm clock was ak-47 fire. some of the men were by their but you thi bunks, gearing up for another day, some were heating up their mres, some were in makeshift buildings planning the day's
patrols. up on the roof behind a circle of sandbags, two marines manned their posts. kyle and lance corporal nicholas ephrasio. the compound started to take fire. seeking cover, kyle and nick laid down low on their backs wind those sandbags. and then the grenade landed. with a thud. its pin already pulled. it was about to explode. and kyle has no memory of what happened next. what we do know is that there on that rooftop, he wasn't just with a fellow marine, he was with his best friend. kyle and nick had met in training in afghanistan. they patrolled together day and night, a friendship forged in fire. kyle says about nick he was my point man. and i loved him like a brother. when the grenade landed, other marines in the compound looked up and saw it happen.
kyle tried to stand. he lunged forward towards that grenade and then he disappeared into the blast. keep in mind at the time kyle was just 21 years old. but in that instant, he fulfilled those words of scripture, greater love hath no man that this that a man lay down his life for his friends. they found kyle lying face down directly over the blast area. his helmet was riddled with holes, his gear was melted, part of his kevlar vest was blown away. one of the doctors who treated him later said kyle was literally wounded from the top of his head to his feet. and for a moment, kyle was still conscious. his eyes were open, but he couldn't see. kyle remembers everything went white. and yet even then, his thoughts were not of himself. one of the marines who was there
remembers how kyle kept asking one question, and that was whether nick was okay. and that the kyle's strength drained away, he sensed the end was coming. so according to kyle's memories, my last thought was to make peace with god. i asked first forgiveness. i was trying to make the best and most of my last few seconds here on earth. the medal of honor is presented for gallantry on the battlefield. but today we also recognize kyle carpenter for his valor since. in the hard fight for recovery. eventually, kyle woke up. after five weeks in a coma. i want you to consider what kyle has endured just to stand here today. more than 2 1/2 years in the hospital, grueling rehabilitation, brain surgery to
remove shrapnel from his head, nearly 40 surgery toes repair a collapsed lung, fractured fingers, a shattered right arm broken in more than 30 places, multiple skin grafts. he has a new tros tetic eye, new jaw, new teeth and one hell of a smile. and kyle is the first to give credit elsewhere. his doctors at bethesda, he says, put me back together well. today is also a reminder that in the past somebody with injuries as severe as kyle probably wouldn't have survived. so many of our wounded warriors today are alive not just because of remarkable advances in technology, but primarily because of the extraordinary dedication and skill of our military and our va medical professionals. so we need to keep doing everything we can in our power to give our wounded warriors and
those who treat them an opportunity to do what they need. this is an wonderful opportunity to ask kyle's medical team who are here to stand. i see their amazing work every time i visited bethesda, every time i visit walter reed. it's pretty rare where you've got a job where you just know you're doing god's work every single day and they do an incredible job. thank you. thank you for the miracles you work for our wounded troops and veterans. kyle says he'll wear this medal for all who serve and for those who didn't make it back and for those who struggle still. so today we also honor two
members of his team who made the ultimate sacrifice in that deployment, kyle's friends, lance corporal timothy jackson and lance corporal dakota r. hughes of louisiana. and our thoughts are also with the marine who kyle saved that day, his brother, nick. i had the opportunity to meet nick, as well, nearly two years after the blast on one of my visits to walter reed. nick suffered grievous wounds. as a result of traumatic brain injury, he couldn't speak for more than a year. he also endured multiple surgeries. today his recovery continues. he lives at home with his family in plymouth, massachusetts, where he is watching this ceremony. so, nick, on behalf of all of us, i want you to know we honor your sacrifice, as well. your perseverance is an inspiration. and just as kyle was there for you, our nation will be there for you and your family as you grow stronger in the years
ahead. if any of our wounded warriors seek an example -- let me amend that. if any american seeks a model of the strength and resilience that define us as a people, including this newest 9/11 generation, i want you to consider kyle. after everything he's been through, he skis, he snowboards, he's jumped from a plane with a parachute, thankfully, he trucked through a six-mile mud run, completed the marine corps marathon, says he wants to do a triathlon. he's a motivational speaker, an advocate for his fellow wounded warriors. he's thinking about majoring in psychology so he can use his own experiences to help others. he got scheduler grades.
and by the way, he's only 24 years old and says i'm just getting started. in other words, kyle is a shining example of what our nation needs to encourage. the veterans who come home and use their incredible skills and talented to keep our country strong. and we can all learn from kyle's example. as we prepare for the reading of the citation, i'd like to close with his own words, a message i think for every american. it took a life changing event to get me to truly appreciate the precious and amazing life i have been blessed with. please take it from me, enjoy every day to the fullest, don't take life to seriously, always try to make it count. appreciate the small and simple things. be kind and help others. let the ones you love always know you love them. and when things get hard, trust there's a bigger plan and that you will be stronger for it. pretty good message.
corporal william kyle carpenter should not be alive today, but the fact that he is gives us reason to trust that there is, indeed, a bigger plan. god bless you, kyle. god bless all who serve and protect the precious and amazing life that we are blessed with. may god continue to pleas and keep strong the united states of america. semper fi. >> the president of the united states, in the name of the congress, takes pleasure in presenting the medal of honor to lance corporal william kyle carpenter, united states marine corps. for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of duty while serves a an automatic rifle man ninth marine regimental combat team one first marine expeditionary force forward in support of separation enduring freedom on 21 november 2010. lance corporal carpen terp was a member of a platooned size coalition force compliesed of two marine rifle squads partnered with an army squad. the platoon had staed established two days earlier in a small village in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local afghan population. lance corporal carpenter and a fellow marine were manning a rooftop position when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades one of which landed inside their sandbag position. without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety, lance corporal carpenter
moved towards his grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow marine from the deadly blast. his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow marine. by his unadulted curvage and unwavering duty in the face of almost certain death, lance corporal carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the marine corps and the united states naval service.
>> let us pray. precious god, may this ceremony serve as a reminder of the responsibility that comes with receiving the grace gift of freedom. and as we depart this hallowed hall and return to our daily lives, we pray that you would ennoble and empower us that when called upon, we would represent the resolute fearlessness of corporal kyle carpenter and all those who wear the stars of valor and leadership liive up t responsibilities bringing honor to you and to this country. it's in the strength of your name we pray. amen.
>> amen. >> that brings us to the conclusion of the ceremony, but not the reception and party. and so i want to thank everybody again for being here, especially kyle's wonderful family and his parents. and i understand that the food here at the white house is pretty good. i already told kyle's brother that she should be chowing down. that goes for everybody else, as well. and i think the drinks are free. it's still early in the afternoon. thank you very much, everybody. let's give one more round of applause to our latest medal of honor, kyle carpenter. >> president obama awarding the medal of honor to 24-year-old
retired marine corps ral kyle carpenter, extensively injured in helmund province in afghanistan 2010 when he threw himself on to a grenade to save a fellow marine. colonel jack jacobs, you uniquely have had this experience. a pretty cool thing. tell us a little bit about what this young man must be feel right now. this is actually a rare and wonderful experience. >> yeah, he's going to feel -- he does feel, because i spoke to him last week, overwhelmed. he does realize the responsibility that he carries and that is that he's representing all those people who are not wearing the medal who deserved it, all those men and women who fought valorusly and were not recognized. and he understands his life has changed forever. he welcomes the opportunity to do for others in uniform and who have worn the uniform that he knows he must do.
it's -- but it's a -- i asked him whether or not he was age stated or nervous about going to the white house. he said no, no, it's afterwards. it's everything afterwards that i'm nervous. >> let's take a look at this interview that you did, this extraordinary interview with this remarkable young man. only 21 years old when he committed this incredible act of valor and heroism. let's take a look at the interview that our own colonel jack jacobs did with corporal kyle carpenter. >> how did you discovery you were going to get the award? who called you? >> president obama. >> and what did he say? >> it's my pleasure to let you know that based on -- you will be awarded a medal of honor. >> he said one of his greatest honors of being the president is being commander in chief and he
said he looked forward to meeting with me and spending some time with me and he would see me in d.c. >> are you excited about going to the white house? >> i am excited, but as you just said, it's -- it's definitely weighs on me. you know, and the responsibility that i'm going to have. and i'm not wsh i guess, timid or scared in any way. i am excited. for the opportunity to represent the military and this nation. but it's a double edged sword. >> well, i mean, it's a burden to almost everything, even if it's good. and you're going to get lots of guidance from the other recipients, too. everybody is going to give you his two cents. but most of all, we hang together trying to help each other out because we do know that we -- we don't wear the award for ourselves.
we wear it for all those people would can't. i'm going to show you, i've got my medal. i don't typically carry it around, but i brought mine with me. and this is the army version. you're going to get the marine corps version, which is actually the first version that was created in -- during the civil war. if you can't touch it, it has less meaning. so i think you're supposed to. that's mine, but you'll have yours. and remember, that has nothing to do with me. it has to do with all those soldiers who never came home with whom i fought, all the marines you fought with that didn't come home and everybody in between. it represents the valor of the people of the united states of america. so i'm glad you have a chance. >> i officially have chills. >> colonel jack jacobs, you're already a cool guy in my eyes.
but that must have been -- i think it must have been so poignant as somebody who is yourself a medal of recipient honor to talk to a young man. this guy is 24 years old. he's a kid. >> everybody is a kid to me. i told him talking to him reminded me of a couple of days after i was decorated, i was at an event and one of the people there at the event was a recipient to the medal of honor was jim memy doolittle who conducted the attack on tokyo not long after pearl harbor. >> the doolittle raid, yeah. >> and he put his arm around my shoulder, took me to the corner of the room, the ballroom where we were and he said -- jimmy doolittle said to me, young man, let me give you some guidance. he said you're no longer jack jacobs, you're jack jacobs, medal of honor recipient and you're going to have to behavior accordingly. do you understand what i'm talking about?
and i said yes, sir, i sure do. and i told kyle that story and that's what gave him the chills. >> that is what is remarkable about your conversation with him is that -- and even when you talk about your own medal, it isn't really about yourself. that it is a burden and a responsibility, especially to the men who didn't make it back. >> somebody once asked bob kerry, who has been on -- at this disk from time to time who is a medal of honor receiptant, lost his leg in vietnam, but it's worth retelling. somebody once asked him what does it take to receive the medal of owner? he said you have to do something. people have to be able to see it. they have to write and they kaeptd hate you. think about all those people who performed valiantly in combat and nobody saw them or they saw them and they themselves were killed and there was nobody left to witness. and you realize that you do wear -- any award, not just the medal of honor, any combat award you wear for all those who can't, who are not here to talk about it, there was nobody left
to bear witness. >> the reason they call it uncommon veiler is that it is rare and unique and it comes from some place that i think most of us cannot understand to literally lay down your life for someone else. >> people ask the question all the time, i talk to young soldiers and sailors and marines all the time. they say do you think i'll have it when i need it? and in my experience, absolutely. yeah, yeah. so meeting this young man, what advice did you give him? >> the one bit of advice that comes from a very strange place, it's just be yourself. you can't be somebody, just be yourself. but he already knows that because he was himself on that day. >> and you do that well because you know we love you around here. you are a friend and a part of the show and i really appreciate you being here for us for this day. very important to have you. >> thank you. >> that is the reid report for this afternoon. an extraordinary day on news iraq and that young man, kyle
carpenter, receiving the medal of honor. the cycle is up next. straight ahead, president obama doubles down on his insistence that combat troops will not be returning to iraq, but lunches of others will. back at the nation's capital, we're waiting for the red smoke to emerge. oh, wait, isn't that what happens when republicans elect a new leader? all that and breaking news as it happens this our in "the cycle." >> first, we are working to secure or embassy and personnel operating inside of iraq. second, at my direction, we have significantly increased our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset. we have to get a picture of what's taking place inside iraq. third, the united states will continue to increase our support to iraqi security forces. we're prepared to send a small
number of additional american military advisers. fourth, in recent days we've positioned additional u.s. military assets in the region. timely, the united states will lead a diplomatic efforts to work with iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in iraq. the united states will not pursue military options to support one sect inside of iraq at the expense of another. >> we begin this hour with those big developments out of the white house. president obama just wrapped up a statement and news conference about the ongoing chaos in iraqi. it followed a meeting with his national security team this morning that spilled into the afternoon, running more than 45 minutes longer than expected. there's no doubt, there was a lot to talk about. you just heard the president spell out how he plans to deal with the situation in the day. the best laid plans aurchb go awry. richard engle is on the ground